• Ella Wischnewsky

LGBTQ+ Social Strife in Bolsonaro’s Brasil

Photo by sergio souza on Unsplash

Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, who was elected in January of 2019, has already become known for his conservative policies in governing Brazil. Bolsonaro has famously declared that he is proud of his homophobia, claiming that “Brazilian society doesn’t like homosexuals,” (Philips) and in recent months, his stance on the LGBTQ+ community has led to infringement of their rights in Brazil (Faiola).

Since his election, Bolsonaro and his staff have enforced harsh restrictions on gender expression and have infringed upon individual rights. He has worked against new conceptions of gender, based on his belief that these ideas go against Christian values. Many of these decisions have come from a growing Evangelical influence on Brazil’s citizenry and government (Faiola). The Evangelical movement has brought extremely conservative values to Brazil, which oppose the social progress the nation has experienced in the last decade.

The recent acceptance of same-sex marriage and transgender people in the public eye has faced challenges under Bolsonaro’s rule. His rhetoric and policies towards women and LGBTQ+ people mirror those of Donald Trump. For example, Bolsonaro’s “Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights declined to add the LGBT community as a group explicitly protected by its mandate” (Faiola) and in doing so, actively ignored the concerns LGBTQ+ citizens have about their safety. One such policy is a bathroom law that infringes on transgender people’s right to choose to use the bathroom for the gender that they associate with (Faiola). This infringement on rights appears to be influenced by beliefs similar to those which led to Trump’s ban on transgender military employees (Wilson). Such policies have stripped people of the rights that they have fought hard for, exposing the government’s disturbing priorities. In the months leading up to Bolsonaro’s election, hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people surged, just as they did in the United States prior to the 2016 election (Dashow). Discriminatory bills based on Evangelical ideology targeting the LGBTQ+ community have been circulating Brazil’s Congress, and Bolsonaro’s election has increased the likelihood they will be implemented.

The tide of conservative religious influence on Brazil under Bolsonaro, as well as the United States show an infringement on the separation of church and state which both countries hold as law. Bolsonaro appears to value economic growth over human rights, and by enacting these types of policies and encouraging this rhetoric, he is leaving minorities and their rights by the wayside.



Dashow, Jordan. “Data Shows Increased Reported Incidents of Anti-LGBTQ Hate Crimes.” Human Rights Campaign, 13 Nov. 2017, www.hrc.org/blog/new-fbi-data-shows-increased-reported-incidents-of-anti-lgbtq-hate-crimes-i.

Faiola, Anthony, and Marina Lopes. “LGBT Rights Threatened in Brazil under New Far-Right President.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 18 Feb. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/lgbt-rights-under-attack-in-brazil-under-new-far-right-president/2019/02/17/b24e1dcc-1b28-11e9-b8e6-567190c2fd08_story.html?utm_term=.ef7a6c31426b.

Lopez, German. “Trump's Ban on Transgender Troops, Explained.” Vox, Vox, 22 Jan. 2019, www.vox.com/identities/2017/7/26/16034366/trump-transgender-military-ban.

Phillips, Tom. “Brazil's Fearful LGBT Community Prepares for a 'Proud Homophobe'.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 27 Oct. 2018, www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/27/dispatch-sao-paulo-jair-bolsonaro-victory-lgbt-community-fear.

Smith, Amy Erica. “Will Evangelical Legislators Go along with the Rightist Agenda of Brazil's Bolsonaro?” Vox, Vox, 26 Feb. 2019, www.vox.com/mischiefs-of-faction/2019/2/26/18240592/evangelical-legislators-brazil-bolsonaro.

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